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April 08, 2008


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I can't wait until 12 so I can try it!

I'm sure you mean Pike Place Roast not Pike Peak Roast.
My store had it this morning when I stopped in at 7am! YUM!

Starbucks Lover

Purchase USA Today Newspaper on 04/08/08 and get a Free Starbucks Gift Card on Pike Place Roast Coffee till May 28, 2008,

Enclosed in the USA Today Newspaper "Money Section" on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 is a FREE Starbucks Gift Card good for:

Bring this card into your neighboorhood Starbucks every WEDNESDAY now thru May 28, 2008, And receive one tall (12 fl oz) cup of Pike Place Roast on us.

Offer Expires: May 28, 2008. Redeemable at participating U.S. Starbucks locations, cannot be combined with other coupons or specials.

Ugh! Today was absolute insanity! We had people banging on the doors at 5:30 AM to try to new roast, brewing double full batches we were barely able to keep our heads above water. I'm not sure what they put it in, but it's amazing and people kept coming back for more!


Do they offer PPR in decaf too??

magic1, Yes they do offer Pike Place Roast in decaf. :)


This stuff is REALLY SMOOTH....its freakin bomb with roasted almonds...


So my friend and I went to a local Starbucks by work, and guess what? They were out! I did follow the email and visited the store @ 11am Central time, well within the national rollout period. Needless to say, this is not leaving a good taste in my mouth about Starbucks in general.




... Baristas have been told to throw out any brew that hasn't been served within 30 minutes.

"We'll be pouring out more coffee than most people serve," Schultz said.

Pessimistic about your new coffee's sales potential, Howard? LOL


It's VERY mild. Doesn't taste like Starbucks coffee to me. I expect my coffee at Starbucks to kick me in the butt. This sort of is only nudging at my coat-tails, so to speak.

The Tart

I tried the Pike Place Roast. It was OK, but nothing special. I am a iced latte girl anywhoo ... I rarely drink drip.

What did shock me is the chubby mermaid on the cups.
I guess I am so "affected" by beauty in the media/fashon mags, I live in Dallas, that I was stunned at to how unattractive she is.

Love your site ... Read about it in Newsweek!

The Tart
; *


Funny, no one in Seattle actually likes Starbucks anymore, or Howie for that matter (that whole Sonics thing kinda cheesed us all off). This is probably why there were no more people in the 1 of 5 stores in a 1 block radius of my downtown Seattle office than any other day. Actually less than in the 8am rush.

However, I'm pleasantly surprised by the mildness of this roast. It doesn't taste like it was brewed through my car's engine. I'll spread the word, but still, I don't think Howie needs that much of my money.


Maybe Howard can hire all the lays off back with new sales? We will be waiting for your call.


oh my god! This roast is soooooooo yummy! Sorry, but this should tell you something: I'm typically a syruppy froo froo milk drink kinda girl and I'm sitting here drinking it black! And loving it!

By the way, a black bottom cupcake compliments it quite nicely :)

Dylan Michaels

Am i the only one to be gobsmacked at the fact that they ran a promotion for A HALF HOUR....IN THE MIDDLE OF A WORK DAY?


When I went at 12:30, no line but the sample was not 8 oz, it was a a shot glass worth. Very disappointing.


Yeah, I was a little put off by the middle-of-the-day thing. I'll be going there at about 2pm CST. Maybe they'll be out! ;-)

Barista of the Millenium

I just got off at 10:30 here in MST. We had our coffee tasting. There were not many people that showed up just for the free coffee, but the lobby was decently full. My manager then gave out short coffee and chocolate doughnut samples to everyone. We killed the music and he led the lobby in a coffee tasting. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. There was not as many people as I expected, but it still went well.


I agree with Melody. For a medium blend, it's surprisingly mild and could probably be had black by the least discriminating consumer. On the other hand, it's still got that Starbucks roast taste, so it should draw some of the customers who otherwise complain about the strength.

The Pike Place replica in Bryant Park was pretty neat for all intensive marketing purposes. Baristas were handing out the short coffees, 8 oz. bags of Pike Place Roast, and cards for free tall coffees every Wednesday between now and 5/28. They also had a Brooklyn-based a cappella group called New Millennium singing a couple of songs.

All in all, the Bryant Park rollout seemed to be pretty smooth, though it was obvious Howard was in a rush to get to the airport. He did, however, take a moment to sign my copy of "Pour Your Heart Into It" and pose for a picture. Some of my pictures from the event are located on Picasa:



I went to closest star bucks this morning at 9:00am for free coffee.
I asked about FREE Pike place roast coffee at the register and this partner didn't know anything about it, so asked a manager.
I was very surprised!! I thought people who is working there know all about today's big surprise, right?


smalrus, thanks for the pics! Nice!


Smalrus, thanks for the photos! You're a cute young guy! Howard looks very tired.

Perhaps I'm feeling selfish, but I feel like he should have launched the new PPR from right here at the market in the morning, and not NYC. Why did he do it from NYC?

It was interesting to see the pics of the replica first store. Thanks again for sharing your link.



@Melody -- I was wondering about the launch location, too. I see a lot of these changes as largely symbolic. The new "old" logo, the new brew named after the original location, the free coffee refills -- all of these seem to say, "Ok, we're going back to coffee." It would have been a nice touch had this been done where it all started. Whatever.

Choco, I also had an experience like yours. I walked in at 11 AM central and said this is when you're giving out free coffee right? They looked at me like I was weird and said well, we can give you free coffee but it's gonna have to be just brewed, etc, etc, like they had never heard about what was supposed to happen. I said I would like to try the new blend for free like the email said and they were fine with that, but they still weren't using the new cups.

I then walked to the Starbucks across the street and they had it together better than the other place, using the new cups and giving the free coffee, but I heard a barista say "I thought this was supposed to be at 9 AM and not 11 AM." I guess they didn't know that it was different depending on your time zone. Right?


Here's an interesting article about the firings or layoffs as we like to call them.


In a company that has over 100,000 people working for them, under 500 layoffs or firings is not a bad figure. I'm sorry it happened to you, but I keep seeing certain people bring it up in every comment section like it was this massive layoffs like in the auto industry or something.

*tosses two pennies on the table*


as a long,long,long time barista I have to say pike place roast is the best coffee out there. I love latin american coffee anyway and this smooth tasting coffee is perfect!!! Yes, it will take a little more time to grind, spoodle etc. all day long, but boy is it worth it... Howie, you are wonderful! I love the pike place roast 1971 black and white photo, I can't wait to claim it when the promo is over!! Finally this company is back to basics, it's about good tasting, quality, coffee,... people, duh..... You all have a spoodle of a day, he he he he he he he he. I love spoodling...


Seems like a lot of hype just to promote a new coffee. And marketing has obviously learned how to use the media, getting free nationwide publicity. But in a way it makes sense too. If sbux is big enough to draw so much negative attention for their blunders, they probably concluded that they're also big enough to use the media for positive attention. Can't blame them for that.


Things were a little weird at our store. I was off, but I stopped in around 11 because I was in the neighborhood. First of all, corporate kind of dropped the ball on this one by not giving our teams enough notice before hand about the promotion. Most baristas, I'd guess, found out about the promotion after most readers of this website. And that's just sad. Also, all of the emails and alerts we received about the promotion said noon. It was only when I checked the emails this afternoon that we received a clarification from our DM that it was noon EASTERN time, not central. So we were an hour late. Thanks, Starbucks!

I tend to assume that the reason corporate has been so late in their instructions and notifications about new events is, frankly, because of this website and other sites like it. When people post alerts and verbatim listings from the new seasonal promotion workbooks, it only makes things harder at our jobs. Howard is probably afraid to give much notice to partners because so many of them can't want to come to this website and post about them. And that's just sad too.

Trisha Jackson

I live in Columbus Ohio and was very disappointed after receiving the "Big" email. When I woke up this morning, I found another email talking about the new roast but nothing about coming in again for a big surprise. I wonder if they did that because of the folks on the East Coast? I work in the online world and can't figure out why they'd say to go into the store for the big reveal and then 4 days later let the cat out of the bag through another email. Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

The store that is nearest my work is within walking distance. We showed up at noon and there was hardly anyone there. I asked the what all the hype was around their big email and no one seemed to know what I was talking about. One girl did say something about a free tall coffee (sort of quietly) but that was it. No mention of buying a USA Today or anything.

The coffee was good but I was disappointed about the lack of hype.


Yeah I assumed there would be some type of celebration or something, because that initial email made it sound like something really really big was going to happen, and not just a few small things and a new coffee blend.

Am I the only one who thinks they should have just made it 12 PM local time instead of time zone specific as well?


Personally, I think it was better off that they "let the cat out of the bag."

The original email I got didn't specify what the surprise was... just said something about a "venit-size surprise." I had to find out from someone I know who works for Starbucks. And thank god she told me cuz when I went to the Sbux near my office, they were doing the promotion, but you wouldn't have known it by looking around... I actually had to ask if they were doing it in order to get the free coffee!


Pike place roast is definitely the best coffee yet! Its super smooth but still have that boldy taste in it. I'm sike because I can drink it black and i bet its better with cream and sugar also.

As a barista, I'm sad that I'm not working today and I didnt get 2 wear my black shirt and participate on the coast to coast coffee tasting. But last night before we left the store, we stocked the new cups for the openers to be ready in the morning. And of course the new sleeves too!

Dan Daoust

I got myself a free sample at Bryant Park this morning. Honestly, it was good enough that I practically wanted to give the TV camera crew an interview. Definitely noticeably milder than the old brew, and I'm not someone who ever complained about bitterness (heck, I get a "black eye" every morning), but regardless, it was just a great tasting coffee.

Whether it turns the company around is a different story -- I don't think anyone's ever claimed that Coke is the best tasting cola.


Went in early to my favorite Starbucks this morning so that I could get my favorite seat and people-watch.

Settled in with my 9-minute old Pike Place Roast and a piece of the new chocolate marble loaf--a fabulos pairing, so good that I did not have any cream in my first cup, the sweetnes of the chocolate marble loaf brought out the chocolate tones in the Pike Place Roast.

Not too many people came in specifically to get the Pike Place Roast--mostly the regulars getting their usual but accepting a tall Pike Place Roast to try. There were the usual free-loaders getting a cup for each hand and emptying the cream and sugar-in-the-raw.

IMHO, Pike Place Roast is good and should satisfy the plebeins who think Starbucks coffee tastes burnt. As for me I will continue to be the "Americano Man" and enjoy my favorite drip/press of Komodo Dragon Blend.

BTW, I am sipping on a cold, two-hour old cup of Pike Place Roast--has not turned acid/rancid and still has good flavor.

a "venti sized surprise" translates into a thimble sized sample? wow. way to un-wow me.

and, the new coffee tastes like crap. don't believe they hype.


I tried the new roast here in Portland, Texas. A very delicious brew. My take: Very smooth on the palette, full-bodied, nutty, and a hint of chocolate.

Pike is well placed for wider consumer appeal.

Also at the Portland, TX, location - a small foldout promo collateral advertising the new benefits for SB card holders, including free refills on brewed coffee. Not so good: My SB server had no idea about the changes. Neither did he know whether or not said changes had taken effect in his store.


I went out of my way this morning to visit my store for some Pike Place Roast. It's as good as I can remember from the meeting last week. Such a good balance of flavor overall. Definitely taking some home for my mark out. I just hope the consistency of always having PPR isn't something people will get tired of. At least there's the 'other choice' before noon deal.


Thanks Melody =) Yeah, Howard definitely looked as though he'd been put through the gauntlet. I'm sure having to fly back to Seattle in the same day will weary his face even more by this evening.

Anyone can say what they will about the pros and cons of the company (for instance, all of these snafus that people complained about above are to be expected when you have 15,000 stores). But when your key product is a basic commodity with viable substitutes, the only way to maintain brand relevancy is by creating product hype.

Don't forget, we the faithful--including those such as myself, who've never worked for the company--are much more prone to criticize the company's nitty-gritty flaws than strengths. Re-inventing a commodity is no easy feat and Dan Daoust is right that this may or may not turn the company around. But if the overall efforts raise brand awareness (as is the direct goal of advertising) and make a "better" product, then today's mission should come out a success.


new coffee is not that great. thick after taste that is almost like butter (but not in a good way). cups are ugly. looks like a tube sock with the stripes.

starbucks had two options 1) go international and keep things status quo domestically 2) step up domestically and shift to a more quality focused strategy (aesthetics over convenience) to compete with third wavers.

they picked the second, which was a mistake. the company is too big at this point to produce results for this type of strategy. that was all proven today. the coffee isn't that great. the cups look very corporate and stale. the stores still look the same with tons of retail garbage (cds, dvds, etc, etc). the samples are shot sized. i could go on forever.

i don't really care what they ended up doing. but performance wise (stock price), this won't do much. over spending on initiatives that are halfway executed on and things that most customers don't care about.



I suspect they chose New York to maximize media coverage and exposure.

What Starbucks is trying to do with Pike Place Roast is broaden their appeal amongst the masses. This their attempt to "McDonaldize" themselves to the extent they can do so.


I tried the free cup of pike place roast in San Diego. It tasted like tea not coffee, it was so weak! There was no line up to get a free cup. In fact, there were less people than there usually is. Peets rules!

I know, at my store, we weren't told anything about what was happening today besides the coffee meeting/start of spring phase 2...........

I've been checking the portal as well and still nothing - so yeah, I'd imagine most employees wouldn't have known anything about the specifics of today.

I could be totally wrong however.


Dylan: the promotion wasn't on for only half an hour. I think you're referencing what Howard said about dumping out coffee after 30 minutes. That's out standard practice now; if a coffee has been on for longer than 30 minutes, we dump it and brew a fresh pot.

Unfortunately, since I'm in Canada, I haven't tried Pike Place Roast yet. I'm going to the states in a few weeks though, so I'll be taking a few markouts worth.

Joe Louthan

I have always loved this roast and knew it was going to be nothing but good things when I heard it was the daily brew.

I wonder what this tastes like brewed in a stovetop espresso maker?


Also, about some people getting shot-sized samples... That's how Starbucks samples beverages to customers, whether it's a lattee, Frappuccino, or new coffee. Stores were supposed to be giving away short (8oz) samples of the Pike Place Roast upon request, but if baristas were just going around to customers who'd already gotten their drinks, they were probably sampling with the smaller sample cups. So if a barista gave you a suprise and delight sample of PPR on the way in, that's standard procedure. If you got that size sample when you asked for your free PPR at the till, then they should have given you a short (8oz).

I'm assuming that was the scenario?

Professional Coffee

Im glad to see that people are happy with the new roast. Now stop complaining! Much love

Bill Poulos

I was disgusted with Starbucks when I heard that they would not allow the term "laissez-faire" to be used on gift cards.

For a company that benefits from laissez-faire you would think the CEO or other execs would get their head out of their you know what. People should be able to put anything they want on the cards as long as it's not illegal.

Off to McDonalds!


yeah, my other opener didn't show up when she was supposed to at 4:15 this morning.... of all days. my manager had to come in, and he arrived when we normally unlock the doors. GOOD TIMES!


So does the free refills on drip coffee start today too? do you just go up and ask for a refill if you want one?


Congrats, SB, on a great brew! I was impressed with the smoky, nutty aroma and smOOOOOOOth taste. I am hooked. I was skeptical of one everyday medium brew but this will satisfy most customers, I feel. When I am not getting my latte or mocha, this will be my change of pace and home brew.

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